What started out as an escalating series of dares has turned into a full-fledged blog with actual recipes and photos- and readers! We cannot thank all our readers enough, from those who have been with us from Day 1 (Hi Mum!), to those of you who have just discovered our little slice of the interwebs.
To celebrate our one year anniversary, we’ve decided to do a joint blog post- Chelsea and Finn together in one post!
A lot of readers assume we get together all the time to cook but the sad reality is that we don’t get to do that nearly often enough.
We talk every day. We take the dogs for walks together. We eat copious amounts of finger food together (the smaller it is, the more you can eat… right?). Unfortunately, cooking, staging and photographing is hard work and frankly, we’re lazy. 9 times out of 10 when we get together it deteriorates pretty fast into wine drinking, snacking and watching the dogs wrestle.
Not this time… this time we were on a mission.
So, without further ado, we bring you our first Q&A session and Port and Fin’s 1st Birthday Cake. <3
What is your favourite part about running a food blog?
Finn: I like writing and sharing stories. I think it’s also been really satisfying to watch the blog grow. Being able to see readers come to us from all around the globe and from all different backgrounds- we’ve had readers write to us from Iran, Finland, New Zealand… it’s unbelievably cool.
Chelsea: I think what I love most about this blog is that it forces me to keep trying new things. It’s a constant motivator to try different ingredients, taste new food, improve at photography styling or writing. I try things that I might not have tried otherwise. Plus it’s nice having such a creative outlet.
What is your least favourite part about running a food blog?
Finn: Photography! Oh man, it stresses me out so much. Chelsea came into this blog with much more photography experience than I did, it’s only my stubborn refusal to give up and competitive nature that have kept me going sometimes. I’m getting better, but between having very little time, very little daylight and very little experience… it’s been my uphill battle.
Chelsea: If I have to be honest, it might be how I have to constantly battle my inherit laziness. It sounds terrible, but there are times when I just don’t want to cook or bake or stage food or take photos, and all I want to do is, well, nothing. If it’s a rainy Sunday, all I want to do is curl up and read with a pot of tea. If it’s a sunny Saturday, I want to be outside. That being said, once I get off my ass and actually start playing in the kitchen, I love it. It’s just that initial struggle. Kind of like working out, you know? You don’t want to crawl out of bed to start, but once you’ve finished you feel amazing. The lazy woman’s battle.
What is your favourite recipe so far? Which one do you make the most often?
Finn: Ah jeez, that is a hard question! What was I thinking writing questions like this?
- No-Fry Italian Fried Chicken
- Vietnamese Salad
- Naughty or Nice Ginger Lemonade
- Chicken, Black Bean & Butternut Enchiladas
- Warmed Red Cabbage Salad with Toasted Walnuts & Goat Cheese
What I make most often:
- Breakfast Pizza
- Restaurant-Style Beef Tenderloin with Fresh Pasta
- No-Butter Butter Chicken
- Weeknight Pantry Pasta
Chelsea: That might be the hardest question ever… can I give a couple?
- Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Muffins
- Earl Grey Crème Brûlée
- Lemon Poppyseed Loaf with a Lemon Earl Grey Glaze (can you tell I love Earl Grey?)
- 5-Minute Tiramisu Dip
- Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding with a Caramel Rum Sauce
What I make most often:
- Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Bread
- Avocado Stuffed Tuna Melts
- Juicy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (so versatile!)
- Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Hot Dogs
Do you guys ever make recipes that the other posts?
Finn: Oh, definitely! I remember when Chelsea first made this Mango, Bacon & Feta Pizza, we were messaging each other throughout the day and batting around ideas and flavour combos. She threw out “smoky bacon and sweet, fresh mango” and I think my stomach audibly growled. It’s such a good combo, I’ve been making it ever since it hit the blog.
Chelsea: Yes! Oh man, Finn’s No-Butter Butter Chicken was one of the first recipes she ever shared with me and I still make it regularly as a quick and tasty weeknight meal. And her Enchiladas, those things are like heaven in each bite!
Favourite ingredient to work with?
Finn: Cheese? In my opinion, cheese on almost anything makes it at least 10x better. Other than that, I really love working with colourful ingredients.
Chelsea: Peanut butter. And chocolate. And Nutella. Preferably all together. Or matcha powder! I really love the taste or matcha when used in baking.
What do you do when you’re not blogging or working?
Finn: Ooh, this is a tough one since 98% of the time I am either blogging or working. I love eating and drinking with friends, as much as I can. “I’ll cook, you pour” should really be on my family crest (anyone here know needlepoint?). Netflix at the end of a long day and, more often than not, snuggling Hannah and making embarrassing statements about how much I love her puppy belly smell.
Chelsea: Like I mentioned, I love to read with a pot of tea (although I don’t do that nearly enough). I watch more Netflix than I probably should. I love being outside in the trees, so I try to take Parker on long walks or hikes as often as I can. I usually do a lot of camping in the summer time!
Should we talk about this cake? Since it was decided we’d do a joint post, we both wanted something we could contribute to. Finn’s more savory, Chelsea’s more sweet, and a carrot cake seemed to hit middle ground. Plus, it’s kind of like a birthday cake 🙂
We tossed some chai into the mix because we’re both huge fans of it’s deep, warming flavours, which are definitely noticeable in this cake.
I can’t think of what else to say here Finn, I’m so bad at describing food. Yum. Good. Carrot. Chai. Frosting. Cream Cheese. Eat.
^ This is perfect. You guys see why I love this girl, right?
|Double Chai Carrot Cake|| |
- Chai mix:
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 Tbsp ground green cardamom (~ 16 pods, husks removed and seeds ground)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp chai mix (recipe above)
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 (250g) packages cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 4 Tbsp chai mix (recipe above)
- 2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
- 8-12 marzipan carrots (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Using a large plate (or bowl) trace out three 9-inch circles on parchment paper. Cut them out (they will be used to line the bottom of the cake pans). Lightly grease three cake pans, place the parchment circles on the bottom of the pans, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper. Set aside.
- Make chai mix: combine all chai mix ingredients; set aside. If you're not a fan of whole fennel seeds, grind them up using a spice grinder, a clean coffee grinder, or a mortar and pestle.
- Make cake: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chai mix; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined. Add flour mixture in three parts, stirring well after each addition. Add carrots, stirring by hand until just combined.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pans, flattening tops with a rubber spatula. The batter will be very thick, but don't worry! It will rise and fluff up while baking. Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cakes are cool, use a serrated knife to even out the tops or the cakes, if necessary. You want a relatively flat cake (for easier stacking).
- Make frosting: beat together all frosting ingredients until smooth and spreadable.
- Toast coconut: Heat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes until coconut is browned and toasted, stirring often to avoid burning.
- Assemble cake: Spread an even layer of the frosting on the top of one of the cake layers. Stack another cake layer on top and frost the top, then place the final cake layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle toasted coconut along the sides of the cake. Top with marzipan carrots, if desired.